Afternoon Book Club: The Island of Sea Women

sea womenThis June the Winfield Public Library Afternoon Book Club invites you to dive into the world of haenyeo with June’s book selection The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See.  All are welcome to join the book discussion on Wednesday, June 29 at 2:30pm.

Haenyeo are female divers in the Korean province of Jeju who harvest a variety sea life from the ocean.  See’s novel, a New York Times bestseller published in 2019, introduces readers to this remarkable culture led by women known for their strength, determination, and iron will.   It is 374 pages and has a 4.3 rating on goodreads.  From the publisher:

Set on the Korean island of Jeju, The Island of Sea Women follows Mi-ja and Young-sook, two girls from very different backgrounds, as they begin working in the sea with their village’s all-female diving collective.  Over many decades – through the Japanese colonialism of the 1930s and 1940s, World War II, and the era of cellphones and wet suits form women divers – Mi-ja and Young-sook develop the closest of bonds.  Nevertheless, their differences are impossible to ignore:  Mi-ja is the daughter of a Japanese collaborator, forever marking her, and Young-sook was born into a long line of haenyeo and will inherit her mother’s position leading the divers.  After hundreds of dives and years of friendship, forces outside their control will push their relationship to the breaking point.

This beautiful, thoughtful novel illuminates a unique and unforgettable culture, one where women are in charge, engaging in dangerous physical work, and the men take care of the children.  A classic Lisa See story – one of women’s friendships and the larger forces that shape them – The Island of Sea Women introduces readers to the fierce female divers of Jeju Island and the dramatic history that shaped their lives.

The Island of Sea Women was chosen to meet WPL’s June Reading Challenge of a book that is water-related.  This month’s challenge kicks off 2022’s Summer Reading Adventures, an “Ocean of Possibilities.”  From June 6 through July 25, adults can collect tickets for weekly prize drawings, sponsored by the WPL Friends of the Library, by attending events (such as the Afternoon Book Club), checking out books, submitting book reviews, snagging grab & go kits, visiting the book bike, and completing weekly trivia sheets.  Details and summer reading starter packs are available at the library beginning Monday, June 6.